On the other hand, moving away from the outline can also mean that you have lost your focus. How can you tell if you need to revise the paper or the outline? One method is to try a retro-outline, which means creating an outline from the paper once it is written (partially or entirely). This method is quite useful before handing in any paper, regardless of whether or not you made an initial outline. If it is difficult to create a retro-outline that makes sense and is clearly organized, then your paper needs revision. Your new outline can help you by showing you where the organization has broken down.